Tobacco tax forces smokers to quit

In April, the Federal Government sprung a surprise 25 per cent tax rise, which has been credited with 30 per cent more people trying to quit smoking.

Two months after the tax increase, a Galaxy survey of 1258 smokers found 38 per cent had tried to give up, compared with 29 per cent in the three months before the price rise.

A further 29 per cent had cut down and 9 per cent had stopped.

Flinders University smoking cessation expert Associate Professor John Litt said the Government should consider further price rises. “It appears this move was the right one when it comes to trying to reduce smoking levels in this country,” he said yesterday.

“According to this research, increasing the cost of cigarettes even higher would provide further benefits to our nation’s public health.

“As many as 68 per cent would try to quit if the price hit $25 per pack (of 20) and only 16 per cent would continue to smoke at any price.

“This should be considered by our nation’s leaders.”

Cigarette prices vary by brand and quantity purchased but in a single packet of 25, each cigarette is likely to cost about 60c. In July, the Australian Medical Association SA called for the Federal Government to go further and raise the price to $1 a cigarette.

One in five smokers responded to the price rise by stockpiling packs, buying on average four weeks’ supply in advance.


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